Susie Long Hospice Fund open palliative beds

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Six state-of-the-art palliative care beds financed by the Susie Long Hospice Fund will be officially opened in St Luke’s Hospital General Hospital for Carlow-Kilkenny on Friday (October 10).

Six state-of-the-art palliative care beds financed by the Susie Long Hospice Fund will be officially opened in St Luke’s Hospital General Hospital for Carlow-Kilkenny on Friday (October 10).

Minister of State Ann Phelan will unveil the new beds, equipment and furnishings which were funded by the group set up in memory of the late Susie Long.

Susie died of bowel cancer on October 12, 2007, aged 41 but not before she exposed the failings of a two-tier healthcare system. Susie’s husband, Conor Mac Liam, and their two children Áine and Fergus, have welcomed the new facilities at St Luke’s.

“As a family, we are relieved and delighted to see the new facilities for palliative care patients and their families. If these beds were available when Susie needed full-time care towards the end of her life, it would have been a great comfort to her and our family,” said Conor Mac Liam.

“This is real progress for patients and it’s a step closer to the day when we will open the full 12-bed hospice in Susie’s memory in Kilkenny,” he added.

The Susie Long Hospice Fund (SLHF) allocated €50,000 for the new specialist beds, equipment and furnishings in St Luke’s.

Chairman of the SLHF Fund Tommy Roche said the group is “delighted to provide support to palliative care patients” in the hospital. “We will also be funding a family area very soon. These measures will add to the excellent care already provided by management and staff at the hospital.”

He added: “It is thanks to the generosity of the people who donated to the Susie Long Hospice Fund that palliative care patients will now see real benefits. We look forward to the day when we return to St Luke’s to open the permanent 12-bed hospice.”

The SLHF has raised over €688,000 to date -- and continues to raise awareness of the need for hospice care for patients throughout the country. The group has been working closely with General Manager of St Luke’s Hospital Anne Slattery and Clinical Director of the hospital Dr Garry Courtney in recent months to secure the new beds.

“We would like to extend our thanks to the management and all of the staff at St Luke’s for their ongoing commitment to palliative care patients in Carlow and Kilkenny,” said Mr Roche.

A ceremony to mark the official opening of the new beds will be attended by Minister of State Ann Phelan, members of the SLHF, and management at St Luke’s in the Education Centre, Administration Building, on Friday (October 10) at 11am.